Magnuson Park Cross Race Report

By Tuesday, October 20, 2015 November 10th, 2015 2015, Cyclocross

Sunday, more than a thousand racers took to the course at Warren G Magnunson Park for the fourth stop in the MFG Cyclocross series. The course at the former Naval base saw some major changes from years past, which made for a fast, fun—and at times slick course that spent the day beset by the a near constant drizzle, with the occasional passing rain shower. Not a single racer finished the day with a clean kit.

The spectator friendly course had was lined with team tents and offered plenty of spots for good spectating, but the favorite spot was at the far west end of the park, where racers climbed up a small hill featuring two slightly off camber descents that tested the skills of the lower categories.

The women’s race sorted its self out quickly, with five women, led by Nemesis Racing’s Andi Zolton, quickly gaping the other women in the field. The group of women, included Axiom HVAC/Cycle U’s series leader Kristen Kelsey, Heidi Wood (333Fab Factory CX Team), and Maggie Coles-Lyster (Local Ride Racing) who was down from Canada. The traditionally fast and dry course, was slick in sections, but drafting and large groups still played a role in the race. The biggest challenge for the women was navigating the other categories on the course, as the fast group cleared portions of the course with more speed than the lower categories. A problem with the lap timer caused some confusion, and when Coles-Lyster and Zolton went, others thought there was still a lap to go. Coles-Lyster topped Zolton in the sprint, and Heidi Wood crossed the line in third.

Like last year, Zach McDonald made a local appearance at the race. McDonald, who is without a bike sponsor this year, rode his personal 26 inch hardtail mountain bike, which didn’t stop him from leading for a majority of the hour plus race. As in the women’s race, it was a group of five that animated the race. The group with Steve Fisher (Raleigh/FSA CX) and Rad Racing’s Junior National Champion Scott Funston were content to let McDonald set the pace. Fisher was patient, and with two laps to go launched a strong attack, leaving the group to chase. The under geared McDonald tried to chase, but was left in no-man’s land, as Fisher rode to victory. Recycled Cycles Racing Rory Jack put on a strong performance and finished third.

In two weeks the MFG Cyclocross Series moves to the LeMay Family Collection Foundation, the grounds of vintage auto museum, for the penultimate race of the series. Kristen Kelsey (Axiom HVAC/Cycle U) has a four point lead over 333Fab’s Heidi Wood, with Nemesis’ Andi Zolton nine points down on Kelsey.

Fisher (Raleigh/FSA CX) further solidified his lead on the series and now has 37 point lead on Mitchell Thornton (Dyna Racing) who moved into second place, while Cascadia Racing’s Kelly Nowles fell to third, seven points down on Thornton.